In late 2004, The Shawn Maxwell Quartet was formed and has played regularly at the Kendall Pub in Yorkville, Illinois. In the summer of 2005, Maxwell released Originals, a ten track set of contemporary jazz music in which he wrote and arranged all of the material for this new album. Playing with Maxwell on this disc is pianist Jakub Rojek, bassist Mike Daly and drummer Glen Schneider. Trombonist Johanna Mahmud is featured on tracks two and seven while guitarist Ryan Trommer appears on track nine.
Maxwell makes an immediate impression with a fine sax solo statement on the opener "Dangerous Curve" with Rojek on a crisp piano excursion while Schneider plays the drums with force. "Iynes Crayons" follows in a slow starting track that eventually picks up with a chase between Maxwell's sax and Mahmud on trombone. Demonstrating his versatility on the woodwinds, Maxwell plays the flute on "Glamasue" and takes up the clarinet on "King Bill," two fine numbers.
I was drawn to "Inside Back," a brisk and jazzy beat tune containing a marvelous solo run by Rojek accompanied by the leader on an excellent solo in a cut with a great melody and groove. "The Sixth" is a slower and melancholy piece of music that finds Maxwell on a superb alto expression on ten minutes of this low-tempo movement. The leader once again uses the clarinet as he dances around the upbeat and fast-paced "Clayton's Carnival." I listened to "No One Bossa" expecting a slightly bossa-tinged track but was dissapointed. While the music is fine, it did not sound to me like a bossa number, if it was meant to be. The finale, "Lunch-Box" has a boppish feel to it in a track where Maxwell showcases his ample talents on tenor.
An album of fresh material sculpted in a contemporary jazz mode that provides an engaging and entertaining setting. Maxwell steals the lime light with his performance on the reeds. Originals delivers a session of quality music from a premier saxophonist and an excellent supporting cast.